Check out Cameron Mason's blog post about the workshop I took in Philly! There is even a nice shot of my piece!
You can see it here: http://www.cameronannemason.com/blog/
I am currently working on a body of work about committing suicide by drowning. Ironic, since this piece has made me want to strangle myself. It has been one mess of tangles and knots after the other.
What the Water Gave Me is a piece about the weight of water bearing down on a person as he or she sinks. Of course, you probably know that water exerts more pressure on the body the deeper you go. The plan it to create a weaving that is 10-11 feet long, that puddles on the floor of the exhibition space. Sections of plain weave will be juxtaposed with layers of waffle weave to create a sense of movement, and sense of weight, across the field.
This piece is still currently in the process of being woven. I am hoping to have it off the loom tomorrow. Then, I will have to do some processing to finish the piece.
I am finally back from Pennsylvania! I had a great time, learned a lot about fibers, saw some amazing art, and met some great people. However, I am glad to be home. Cameron Anne Mason sculptural fibers workshop was fantastic. I learned a technique for creating 3-D textiles that I wish I would have had in my repertoire in undergrad. I feel lie so many more of my ideas for my senior show could have been recognized if I had had this technique in my back pocket then. Oh well.
The first day of the workshop was all about meeting Cameron, becoming familiar with the work of other fiber sculptors, and shifting our minds from 2-dimensional art to 3-dimensional forms. To do that, we first played with tag board circles: cutting slits in them and taping them back together in order to form a vessel.
When we were comfortable with that, Cameron encouraged us to draw in our sketchbooks and come up with an idea for a sculpture. Then it was time to attempt to create a pattern for that sculpture, again in paper. I went through several different flower and vase forms, but I wasn't happy with any of them. I knew that I wanted to do a square shape, since my work currently revolves around squares, but I was afraid that that shape was too basic.
With some encouragement from the table of women I was sitting with, I decided to go with my gut and this is what I made! It is a cube 8" x 8" with smaller 4" x 4" square inside. Windows were cut into the outer cube to allow for the viewer to see inside.
On the second day, it was time to shift from paper to fabric. We had to scale our designs up from the paper maquette and then cut the pieces out of a thick fusible interfacing called pelltex. After the pieces were cut out, they were basted together, by machine or by hand or both, to make sure that they fit together properly. If they didn't they could be easily tweaked. And if they did, they were cut apart and the fiber of choice was fused to both sides of the pelltex. I chose to fuse white cotton to one side and newspaper to the other, which I then painted.
Day three was construction day, and boy did I feel like I was on project runway. It was crazy fast sewing in order to get all pieces painted, stitched, and assembled. Each individual square panel was hemmed with a zig-zag stitch (this included the windows), tulle was added, and then the whole thing was pieced together by hand.
Here is the quasi-finished project! I still have to do some surface treatment to the outside. Either when I painted it or fused it together, some sort of something came through the paint on the exterior and now it is stained. So I want to splatter paint it or something to cover up the stains.
Unlike most of the other people in the class, my piece was super conceptual (thank you, graduate school). If you read my research presentation, then you know that I am working with the square as a representation of depression and the emotions inherent thereof. This piece was sculpted to represent the all consuming nature of depression. Depression causes an individual to construct a metaphorical wall of isolation and loneliness around themselves, represented here by the gray exterior structure. The normal self, the yellow interior cube in this piece, is always ever present, just covered up, unable to break free. The windows here are purely aesthetic, allowing the observer to view this juxtaposition. However, the windows are covered by a piece of tulle, which still allows the outer structure to be a solid form.
Well, my research presentation went...well. I was extremely nervous but I was successful in getting through my talk without vomiting or passing out. There was only one flaw, however. When I uploaded my presentation on to the university's computer, which was a PC, one of my images didn't transfer, and a blank slide showed up. Ooops! I talked about the image anyway and was able to make up some of what was lost in the following slide.
I can't upload my actual presentation because of file size restrictions, but to read my presentation click here
After my Research and Creative Achievement week presentation, I was lucky enough to hop in a car and go to Philadelphia for the joint SDA/SAQA conference. It hasn't been quite the experience I was told that it was going to be, but I have had a great time, meet some wonderful ladies, and learned some valuable information.
On the first day of the conference, we heard from Bruce Pepich, Executive Director and Curator of Collections at the Racine Museum. His presentation was one of my favorites. He gave a compelling talk about the current view of fiber arts in the museum community and I was both proud and startled to see how far textiles has come and how far it has yet to go to be accepted as an art form. My other favorite talk was by the jurors of Art Quilt Elements 2012. Sandra Sider, David McFadden and Elizabeth Barton took you inside their process for jurying this show and what they looked for in the 60 some odd pieces that made it into the show out of the 800 submitted. David made a comment about how traditional the pieces were and what he would like to see in future work, such as the integration of technology, which really angered some of the women, who prefer to use traditionally inspired images and methods in their pieces. However, as a young artist I was encouraged by his comments since I plan on using a computer assisted loom in my future weavings.
Perhaps the best part of the conference however, was getting the opportunity to walk around Philadelphia and go to all of the local art galleries and museums as part of Fiber Philadelphia 2012. I saw some amazing work, including some work by artists that I have seen and admired for a while in magazines, such as the work of Diem Chau. The show at the Crane Center for the Arts called Outside/Inside the Box was particularly inspiring. And guess what! I found and artist working in double weave pickup! Margaret Leininger had a pair of QR code double weaves that made me so happy. Not only was she working in a media that I highly value and use in my own work, but she was using computer integration and square imagery in her work! I want to create a similar piece of my own, but what would I link the code to?
I am in Philly for 3 more days attending an after conference workshop with Cameron Anne Mason called Beyond the Surface: Sculptural Explorations with Soft Materials. I hope it is interesting. Updates to come.